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Old 12-10-2012, 10:17 AM
 
11 posts, read 21,431 times
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I have been looking for an affordable place in the Kansas City area to retire. Having grown up in the Kansas City suburbs, I never considered Kansas City, Kansas. It was never a place I had reason to go.

Recently I came across a listing for a terrific house in Westheight Manor. It looks like the Westheight area has a strong neighborhood association, and is very well maintained. The area surrounding Westheight seems very typically KCK stock: small, basic bungalows in usable shape.

The crime in this area seems reasonably low, and there is are grocery amd home improvement stores not too far away. Can anyone tell me what to expect here?

Last edited by GoodUserNamesAreTaken; 12-10-2012 at 10:28 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:39 PM
 
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Westheight Manor is a nice area but once you leave it your pretty much in the ghetto. I went to Wyandotte High School so i'm pretty familar with the area. The closes grocery store would be the sun fresh at 18th st and I-70 or the Price chopper on 38th and state ave But more stuff out in Western KCK.
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:20 AM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
3,572 posts, read 6,195,578 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodUserNamesAreTaken View Post
I have been looking for an affordable place in the Kansas City area to retire. Having grown up in the Kansas City suburbs, I never considered Kansas City, Kansas. It was never a place I had reason to go.

Recently I came across a listing for a terrific house in Westheight Manor. It looks like the Westheight area has a strong neighborhood association, and is very well maintained. The area surrounding Westheight seems very typically KCK stock: small, basic bungalows in usable shape.

The crime in this area seems reasonably low, and there is are grocery amd home improvement stores not too far away. Can anyone tell me what to expect here?
It sounds like you've done some research. I've done the same on the Westheight area and agree that the area has a strong and active neighborhood association, plus the crime isn't terrible. I'm from KCK, live in KCMO, but went over there to check out a red brick colonial a couple months ago, which needed more work than appeared in pictures. I actually lived in the very area of the child, across the street from Bishop Ward High School's track and field, not in Westheight. Once, when I was 11, a group of black kids (I believe from out of the area, likely north of State) pushed me off and took my bike. A man saw this occur from his house (neighborhood association) and the police were there and retrieved my bike in a matter of minutes! I hope the area is still like that, or better. Of course, when I was 11, that was 15 years ago.

There is a new, nice grocery store which I stopped in to check out, Sunfresh, exactly a mile and a half to the south from Westheight, at 18th and I-70. There's also a decent enough (but really in need of a remodel) Price Chopper grocery store the same distance to the west, at 43rd and State Ave. There's also a few other grocery stores nearby, like Save-A-Lot, Aldi, and a fairly runned-down Apple Market, as well as a Walgreen's and a couple CVS's. But if I lived in the area of Westheight, I would probably shop a lot at the newish (rebuilt) Price Chopper in Roeland Park, which is next to a Lowe's. Roeland Park and NE JoCo are a straight shot down 18th St Expressway from KCK's best inner neighborhoods. There's also a large Hyvee, Target, Hen House, a new Walmart coming, and numerous other stores and restaurants in NE JoCo. Roeland Park is 6 miles from Westheight, mostly freeway, which 18th St turns into south of I-70. However, there aren't any home improvement type stores or even a hardware store anymore (that I know of) in the immediate area of Westheight. Lowe's is the closest big box in Roeland Park and Home Depot in either Merriam, midtown KCMO, or north of the river at Vivion and Antioch. Strasser Hardware, the long-time and large local hardware store isn't that far away though on Southwest BLVD.

Ultimately, I think you need to drive around the area yourself and really check it out. Westheight does border areas that are borderline ghetto to its north, northeast and northwest. Westheight is on the north end of a larger area comprised of several nice neighborhoods that comprise the best area of inner KCK (all of which was originally wrapped around a golf course, which was on the land Wyandotte High School is built on). South of Westheight are the neighborhoods of Westvale, Arickaree, and St. Peter, all of which don't have as large and upscale housing as Westheight, but all of which I think I would choose to move to before I would move as far north as Westheight. KCK's mayor, his wife and kids live in St. Peter. I would compare State Ave to the better-known Troose Ave racial divide in KCMO. However, KCK's divide isn't and I don't think ever has been as sharp. Historically and until recent history, north of State Ave was majority black, while south of it was majority white. In the past 20 years or so, inner KCK south of State has become majority Hispanic, though. Hispanics are even moving into black territory north of State, including Quindaro. That's great though because it breaks up total segregation and makes more areas mixed. Plus, if you haven't been to KCK in the past 20 years, you're in for a surprise. Central Ave and much of Minnesota, along with other main streets, are lined with REAL Mexican retail, restaurants, and other businesses. The Hispanics (mostly Mexicans, but others too) have sort of implented their own form of 'gentrification' on inner city KCK. The biggest issue I take with the whole area is the lack of a neighborhood center, of which I think is a perfect idea for the renovation of the 18th and Minnesota, 18th and State and 18th and Washington areas. You know, a 'face' for the area, somewhere to walk to. A coffeeshop, cluster of local restaurants, etc., sort of like a smaller Brookside. As it is, some intersections in the area are pretty ugly. Plus there's an old railroad right-of-way in the area that would make an excellent Brookside/Trolly-type rec trail. KCK actually has plans, but they're more of a dream than anything. Check out page 29 of this PDF to see the plans: http://www.wycokck.org/WorkArea/Down....aspx?id=28105 If you're curious about the rail right-of-way sutiable for a trail, it runs diagonal from northeast of 14th and Washington southwest past 18th and Minnesota, inbetween Wyandotte High and the neighborhoods south of it, past Orville and Central, and into City Park near the intersection of Grandview and Park Dr. You can see it clearly in Google Maps here: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=18th+...gl=us&t=h&z=15 If you look at streetview in the area, you will see what I mean in regard to 18th between Minnesota and Washington needing redeveloped and being central to the area, would be a good place for a walkable neighborhood shopping center.

I've typed enough for the time being, but hope you're interested in what I've shared.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
3,572 posts, read 6,195,578 times
Reputation: 2549
Here's a variety of information for Westheight for anybody who runs across this thread searching or who doesn't have any idea the significance of topic neighborhood. While I can't find any great photos to illustrate the area unfortunately, I can say that Westheight is the most upscale historic neighborhood of KCK. It's sort of the Ward Parkway of KCK, but obviously on a much smaller scale. Westheight and the nearby neigborhoods to its south formed what was historically an upper-middle/upper class neighborhood. Today, however, urban KCK and KCK in general is largely devoid of a middle class. The place is hardcore blue collar and fairly unique. All the while, Westheight and neighborhoods to its south (St. Peter, Arickaree, Westvale) are a stronghold of the remaining middle class. Most of the middle class in KCK that have remained are Catholic and send their kids to parochial schools, including Bishop Ward HS, which is in the center of the area, and these folks have stuck around because of deep roots and loyalty to the community. Many are involved with the city government. It's worth mentioning that Donnelly College, a small Catholic college, is in the center of the area, next to Bishop Ward HS. Further, it's worth mentioning that other than the cluster of neighborhoods I've discussed, Strawberry Hill, which overlooking downtown KCMO and adjacent to downtown KCK, is the other area of KCK with a remaining middle class. Many of the established, long-time KCK residents are of eastern European origin. Many are Croatian. There's a museum celebrating that heritage in KCK on Strawberry Hill. There are several bars/private clubs and restaurants, mostly in Strawberry Hill, that are run by these people.

Historic Westheight Neighborhood Association

WESTHEIGHT HISTORY

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Histor...97908946893340

Historic Westheight Neighborhood in KCK - Homes for Sale

Marvelous Prairie Style Home in Kansas City | At Home in Brookside, Kansas City (This link is particularly interesting. A real estate agent who specializes in KC's "classic neighborhoods" discovers Westheight by accident and does a quick write up. It goes to show how unknown KCK is to outsiders.)

Joe Michalski - IMDb
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
3,572 posts, read 6,195,578 times
Reputation: 2549
This map shows the racial divide I mentioned two posts back. State Ave is the horizonal red line on the map. Inner KCK and the area being discussed is east of 635 on the map and north of the horizonal interstate, which is I-70. Gray is black. Green is white. Orange is Hispanic. I'm pretty sure this map is old and south of State is much more orange today:

http://www.ersys.com/usa/20/2036000/ethnic.htm

This map, by the NY Times, is great for getting census information on a tract-by-tract, detailed basis:

Mapping the 2010 U.S. Census - NYTimes.com
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:05 PM
 
11 posts, read 21,431 times
Reputation: 10
Default Thanks for the Excellent Feedback

This is more than I could have asked for. You have given me anecdotal and statistical feedback that goes a long way to help me understand the dynamic of this area. It looks like this area is similar to Hyde Park in KCMO as it was around 1975-1980. Given the excellent housing stock and the very low prices, I'm surprised more urban pioneers haven't ended up here. This is another option in my search.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
3,572 posts, read 6,195,578 times
Reputation: 2549
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodUserNamesAreTaken View Post
This is more than I could have asked for. You have given me anecdotal and statistical feedback that goes a long way to help me understand the dynamic of this area. It looks like this area is similar to Hyde Park in KCMO as it was around 1975-1980. Given the excellent housing stock and the very low prices, I'm surprised more urban pioneers haven't ended up here. This is another option in my search.
Westheight may be very much in a similar situation Hyde Park was a few decades ago and similarly borders the ghetto and racial divide, but other than that Westheight simply doesn't stack up to Hyde Park. Hyde Park is older, much more urban, and the housing stock much more significant than Westheight. I called Westheight the "Ward Parkway of KCK" in an earlier post, which might be true, but that is definitely relatively speaking. For a KCMO comparison, Westheight's housing stock is probably most similar to that of Brookside.

Speaking of Hyde Park, though, somebody here recently posted an excellent photo thread on that very subject:

Photo tour of the Hyde Park neighborhood in Kansas City

As for your seeking out options for nice and affordable housing, you might check out Paseo between Brush Creek and 63rd St, especially if you care to be close to upscale groceries, retail, restaurants, the Plaza, etc. There are some nice houses along that stretch of Paseo and the boulevard design is in pretty good shape.
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